Digital solutions have definitely become “essential workers” for air logistics in this COVID-19 crisis. With the disruption in flight schedules, the ad hoc addition of new, sometimes even one-off destinations, and the boom in “preighters” (cargo-only passenger flights), skypooling, the ULD sharing platform which “matches” ULD understocks with ULD overstocks (and vice versa), is seeing a great deal of traffic – not just of those desperately seeking ULDs, but also now airports desperately seeking ULD owners!
CargoForwarder Global (CFG) spoke to Christine Klemmer (CK) about the current situation.
CFG: Nine months after the official skypooling 2.0 launch, how is the company navigating through the current crisis?
CK: skypooling is proving to be a real helper in this crisis. Corona hits the whole industry hard, undoubtedly. At the same time, it’s great to see so many players within our industry being truly creative and keeping cargo (and passengers!) flying.
Our idea of offering an easy-to-use sharing platform for ULDs helps everyone to have the right ULDs at the right time at the right place. No question, there are huge ULD-overstocks – but they are most probably at the wrong place! skypooling helps to have the ULDs where they are needed.
We at skypooling of course also feel the crisis ourselves. Whilst we have had to slow down on technical enhancements, we continue with the same attention on user exchange and the efforts to increase supply and demand – setting up a strong network for the benefit of all.
CFG: Have there been any out-of-the-ordinary customers using the platform?
CK: Airports are our newest customers using the Lost & Found function on skypooling. Well, mainly the Found function. It is not uncommon that stranded ULDs are found on the apron or outside the warehouses without being traceable to their owner.
We generally see a higher focus on looking for lost units and returning found containers and pallets. The crisis makes everyone more sensitive to cost-efficiently dealing with these valuable assets, blocked warehouses or tarmac space, or the lost opportunity of these units standing around in the wrong place.
CFG: Is there much more one-way traffic and ULDs ending up in unusual places?
CK: Yes, there is, given the creative way airlines and other industry stakeholders are navigating through this crisis. Airlines add new destinations to their schedules, charter flights for cargo or emergency transports are being set up, and we saw loads of passenger recovery flights from holiday locations around the world.
This is a huge manual effort for all involved from planning to operations. And also adds complexity to ULD management and the need to have the right ULD at the right place at the right time.
Let’s take the example of AKEs, the most commonly used baggage container. Everybody would expect that these units would be easily available everywhere. But this is only partly true. You need to know where they are piling up and where they are missing. skypooling adds this transparency. We bring together parties for a ULD-exchange that would otherwise not have found each other so easily. Only today, for example, we are seeing AKE matches (one airline offering overstock, another airline searching for understock solutions) in SYD, NRT, MNL, LHR, CGK, BKK.
CFG: Do you see benefits coming out of this crisis?
CK: The crisis makes us re-think again how we can collaborate within the industry – for the benefit of all us. We also see how quickly we all suffer from an enormous cost-pressure. Working
efficiently together, taking waste out of the system, and the optimized usage of assets have shown to be more important than ever.
skypooling’s idea of a sharing economy is to avoid deadhead moves, make better use of capacities, and thus save assets and save CO2. The current forced shift in focus can, as such, turn out to be of value – perform better, cheaper and contribute our share to a greener industry.
CFG: What is your message to CFG readers?
CK: We will only jointly get through this crisis. Collaborating closely, setting up streamlined interfaces and sharing knowledge, capacities, and assets will be key parts to making this industry stronger. Have a look at skypooling if you haven’t done so yet: ULD sharing, ULD leasing, tracing back lost and found units, as well as information exchange made easy. Save time, save money, save CO2.
And if you have any other ideas how this sharing platform can help the ULD or the airline industry – let us know via the contact form on skypooling.com. Even with social distancing and home office - we are here for your ideas and feedback.
CFG: Thank you, Christine Klemmer.
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